Covered swimming heats in the morning, so by the time I got to Bishan stadium, they had just announced the Boys 100M which, through all the hype, Singapore got a bronze.
There was quite a lot of drama today: 800M boys final was too close to call. My colleagues (who were covering middle-dist) & I were convinced the runners from Iraq & S. Korea would get medals, but in the end, two others – Kumar Ravi (India) & Beyranvand Amir (Iran) came out of nowhere to sprint & then literally throw themselves at the finishing line. Both were celebrating, both were convinced they had won. Even the photo finish couldn’t tell. But Kumar (1:55.91) beat the Iranian’s 1:55.93. Super close.
And then Hong Kong’s Boys 4x200M relay team got disqualified for 2 false starts. Unfortunately the official – who might be from Saa – when to disqualify the Bahrainian team instead. So there was so much confusion the supporters were starting to curse & swear.
Besides that, we were again rooting for another Iranian, Khademi Masoomeh, to win the girls 800M. Partly because we think the Middle Eastern teams need people to cheer for them, & partly because she has become a kind of celebrity among the media people for being the only runner to run in a hijab, baggy longs & (what seemed to us as) an oversized shirt. But she is verrrrry fast (emphasis on fast). She finished 4th at 2:28.27. Can I run that fast? I really don’t think so.
China took boys shot put gold & boys high jump. S Korea took girls javelin. Japan won girls 100M. And, finally, we got to hear a new national anthem playing: Kazakhstan beat China to boys triple jump.
Highlight of the Day: Thailand completely owned everyone else in both boys & girls 4x200M relays. Granted, it’s a strange distance. But when the Thai boys beat Saudi Arabia by half a second, the Thai newscasters in the media area went wild.
And then Thailand’s girls sprint team – who were wearing hot pink – completely outclassed the Japanese (who were the favourites). There was no fight. And we couldn’t even get an interview because the Thai media was all over them.
So the final events of the AYG Athletics competition ended with a double win for a S.E Asian country. With their lap of honour around the stadium, in different directions:
Needless to say the Athletics competition is over. Bishan stadium will reopen for people living in AMK to do running (but not within the next 2 weeks, I heard). I will miss all the friendly Qatari & Iranian athletes who helped me do my assignments by helping me translate. And even though there’s an obscene amount of track & field coverage on a cross-country website, hopefully it’ll motivate more vistors to the blog to take up running.
A last note: I must thank Nicholas for taking the distance of the discus throws properly. As feedback: most of the throwers I interviewed said the officiating was good. The officials were, despite some slip-ups (see above), very well-trained & professional.